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NID: Knowledge vs. creativity

National Institute of Design, one of the premier design institutes in the country, has produced several notable professionals in the field. Its entrance exam is one of the most anticipated events in the calendar of design enthusiasts who want to hone their skills. Though there has been no fixed pattern for the exam, this year the institute has officially announced a pattern for the first time. The three-hour 100-mark design aptitude test scheduled for January 10, 2016 will have multiple choice objective type questions for 70 marks and subjective type questions for 30 marks.

Commenting on the change, Tarun Deep Girdher, head of NID's admission committee, said the effort of the institute has been to make the admission process easier for the applicants. “With MCQs being a major chunk, a big advantage for us will be that the evaluation would become easier and faster. This will, in turn, help the candidates as the results and the merit list will be declared earlier and the candidates and their parents will get a longer window to arrange for the fee and other things,” he said. However, the evaluation parameters remain the same, he clarified.

“We are looking at the candidates’ general knowledge, comprehension competencies (both visual and verbal), analysis and reasoning, creativity and problem-solving. Only the types of questions that will be posed to evaluate these parameters have been changed,” he said.

However, not everyone is happy with NID’s move. Bhanwar Singh Rathore, director of Bhanwar Rathore Design Studio that coaches NID aspirants, said, “I think being a design institute, NID should stress on testing the design aptitude of students and ask questions related to drawing, concept and idea. Till now, this was the pattern that was being followed. But this year, it has been completely reversed as MCQs comprise 70 per cent of the paper. I think the previous pattern was better.” On the flipside, students whose design skills are lacking but general knowledge is good have a chance of bagging a place at the institute, he said.

Students, however, expressed concern that the weightage to MCQs may dilute the rigour of the exam. Supreetha C.K., who is currently studying at the institute, said, “NID’s exam paper has always been unique because you couldn’t really prepare for it. One had to rely on his/her design aptitude for cracking it. But shifting the focus to general knowledge questions would encourage students to go to coaching classes. Also, the mindset of students appearing for the exam would be different.”

Agreeing with her is another student Kaushal R, who is preparing for the upcoming exam and is of the opinion that more weightage to MCQs will not challenge the design aptitude of students. “MCQs, by their very nature, require you to choose an option from those already presented to you. This means you are not allowed the space to think and come up with an answer to the questions on your own. The student is expected to choose a particular answer, so, I think MCQs are better suited to test knowledge, rather than creativity and visualisation,” he said.

Since there is no particular syllabus, what preparation strategy can students employ? “The design aptitude test is not a formula-based test. It is more geared towards how well you are able to a) understand what logic you have to apply and b) use that logic to arrive at an answer. I would advise the candidates to read the questions carefully, think and apply their mind. Be consciously aware of what is happening around you and keep your curiosity level high,” said Girdher.


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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 12:13:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/college-and-university/nid-knowledge-vs-creativity/article8031671.ece

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